President Rodrigo Duterte has received the 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the People’s Republic of China today at the Vilamore Air Base, Pasay.
“Today, we make another step [forward] in our ongoing fight against COVID-19,” Duterte said in his acceptance speech aired over PTV and Radyo Pilipinas.
“I convey my sincere gratitude to the Chinese people and the government of China for this gesture of friendship and solidarity – the hallmark of Philippines-China partnership,” Duterte said.
The President said he also thanked Secretary Carlito Galvez and team Pilipinas for their hard work, and Ambassador Huang Xilian for helping ensure the timely delivery of the donation.
Duterte stressed he said it before that COVID-19 vaccines should be treated as a global public good and made available to all, rich and poor alike.
“No nation – no people – should be left to suffer the ravages of this pandemic for whatever reason,” he said.
He said the comprehensive global recovery hinges on equal and easy access by everyone to life-saving vaccines. Since, at the end of the day, as repeatedly said, no one is safe until everyone is safe.
Duterte said countries must therefore continue working together and do everything humanly possible to ensure a good outcome for every person.
With the important shipment, he is confident that more batches of vaccines will be available with great dispatch until every Filipino will be given the chance to be vaccinated at the earliest possible opportunity.
“I wish to assure the public that your government remains committed to a timely [vaccine] roll out that will enable us to confidently reopen our society,” he said.
Duterte said he is hoping that the delivery of the first batch of vaccine will serve as a guarantee to everyone that government is taking a big step in the efforts to overcome the health crisis.
He said as the government prepares for the distribution of the vaccines, he is directing all concerned agencies to institutionalize the whole-of-government approach in its roll out.
Duterte said the government cannot afford to waste time or resources in the distribution of the vaccines because the country is dealing with precious lives.
“To our dear medical frontliners, allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for your valuable and selfless contribution in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.
Duterte said the government recognized the profound sacrifices they continue to make every single day, even at the cost of being away from their loved ones and risking their precious lives just to take care of the sick.
” As I have mentioned before, I assure you that the government will always be by your side, ready to help in any way we can,” he said.
He also urged Filipinos to set aside their fear over the vaccines since these are backed by science and deliberated on by Filipino experts.
” I encourage you to get vaccinated at the soonest possible time. And be our partner in preventing the further spread of this disease,” he said.